Sunday, July 15, 2007


Just barely, but I finished it yesterday. Whew! I can't believe I really did it. Now picture me dancing about - oops - never mind, I don't want to knock over any more cans of paint. Instead, Cyper-High fives all around!

Y'know how I said I was as much excited as I was nervous to do the second wash layer? Well, apparently I was lying. I spent most of yesterday looking at the big wall, the wall that I hadn't even done the first layer on yet, and then finding something else I needed to do first. I hemmed and hawed all day until finally I just put on my big girl panties and marched out to the living room and did it. For some reason the BIG wall intimidated me a lot more than the other sections.

I forgot to take a photo of it before adding the second layer but it's just as well. I stepped back and took a good long look after the first layer was applied and wasn't very satisfied with it. I took a break, sat and watched a bit of t.v. with William, and stole looks at the wall every five minutes or so, until I'd gotten a good idea what I wanted to do with the second layer to correct some of sections that didn't work for me. Too, I reminded myself that the long wall will have a huge cabinet smack dab in the middle of it plus artwork and other furniture, so it's not like the larger patterns will be visible.

Here's a photo of as much of the long wall (about half of it) as I could get in one shot.

After finishing the first layer of the long wall I felt beat. I think it was emotional as much as physical. But the thought of having the process waiting for me when I woke up the next morning got me back on my feet. I decided I could at least do a small section of wall with the second layer, just to get a start and to break through my nervousness. I started on a small strip of wall just around the corner from the long wall and then worked my way across the long wall, balancing some of the areas of light and dark that had particularly bothered me. I kept working, one section at a time until suddenly (a long while later) I was surprised to find myself finishing up the last few feet of wall on the other side of the room. I looked at the clock and it was just around midnight.

Here's a another photo down the length of the long wall, taken this morning with more light in the room and a flash. It doesn't really look as tan as in this photo, nor is it as deeply golden in the daylight as it is in the photo taken last night under the light of the overhead light.

Here's another photo taken today of the other side of the room that's a bit closer to the real color. Although, the "real" color is sort of a moot point as it looks different all the time as the light changes in the room. You can probably compare this photo to the one yesterday of the same walls with just one wash layer applied.

It's hard to see the different colors in the photos. You notice it more in real life. Or rather, it's more noticable to me. The affect just adds more depth and complexity to the wall rather than to make particular colors stand out. Which is what I wanted. I think if you double click on this up close photo, you'll be able to see the separate colors. The second wash was a medium terra cotta.

Of course now I'm eyeing it and seeing all sorts of other things I could do to the pattern. I could fill in some of the lighter areas and make it more subtle. I could add "veining". When I first decided I wanted to do a faux pattern was studying the different types and patterns I could attempt, I had to remind myself that I didn't really need to take it to the next level of difficulty because I a) I was going to be covering quite a bit of it up again and b) I wanted fun, funky, and (relatively speaking) fast. True then and true now. So. I'm done. Today I can start gathering up painting supplies and putting furniture where I want it. My two new bookcases will go in so I can even get rid of some of the boxes of books.

Of course I still have that one small section of ceiling to finish. And I haven't finished the painting in the dining room, or started on the hallway or kitchen or William's room or my bedroom.... STOP! I finished this room and I'm going to let myself savor it for a bit. At least for the rest of the day.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Here are a couple more photos of the living room after I got the base coat on all three walls. (The fourth wall is an accen wall and already painted a dark brown.)

In the photo above the differences in color are just from the light coming through the window and falling on the wall.

This photo shows the paint more evenly. It all looked so clean and fresh, I wasn't sure I was going to be able to "attack" it with more colors. I procrastinated for hours before I could get up the courage. I finally rallied just about sunset.

Oops, that's not a photo of the walls. How did this sneak in here in the middle? Rosie sleeping on top of a stack of pillows - she's such a princess. The pillows show my color scheme quite nicely.

So, here is the room with the first wash layer applied. This photo was taken with a flash. ( The "color" you see on the ceiling is just a reflection, by the way.) This layer is a chocolate brown flat paint (it's only a flat paint because I happened to find a can of it already made up and discounted - the next layer is a satin finish, like the base coat, so the whole thing should be scrubbable) mixed with a glaze. I applied it with a brush and then immediately rubbed it in (rubbing some of it off and some of it stretched and thinned into the wall texture) with a damp rag. None of this "blotting" with a rag - I don't really like that effect. And no sponges - blech - the sponge techniques I've seen all looked dated to me. When I say rubbed in immediately, I do mean IMMEDIATELY. The paint/glaze mixture seemed to dry almost on contact. I worked in small sections at a time and quickly.

I hadn't realized how much texture there was on my walls until it showed up with the wash coat. I knew it would look different on the wall than it had on the brick and I wasn't sure what to expect. I was pleased at how well the original texture worked with the wash. It was a lot closer to what I pictured in my head than I thought I'd get.

Here's the other wall, this photo taken without a flash. I got tired and didn't get the third, and longest, wall done. I was surprised at how much muscle it takes! So I'll do the last wall today and then, since I don't have to spend the afternoon at the market like I did yesterday, I am really hoping to continue right into applying the next layer.

I was so nervous, but I really like the way it looks, even now only halfway done. William looked skeptical as he watched me working. He didn't say anything until I declared I was finished for the night and then he looked around and announced "It looks Mexican." If you'll recall, he made a similar comment earlier in the project. And since teens aren't known for their subtlety - he would have had no problem announcing it flat out ugly - I'm taking this as a compliment.

I know from having done the brick walls, applying the second wash makes a huge improvement, so now I'm at least as excited as I am nervous to do this next and last stage.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Here's my living room with just the ceiling and one wall painted.

I managed to get the entire living room base coat painted yesterday. I even got all the trim and shelving painted as well, in what was left of the quart of semi-gloss after William knocked it over, spilling most of it out onto the hardwood floors. This is the SECOND quart of paint we've lost to spill during this project! I dropped the first one. It's so hard to work around all that furniture - but there's simply no place left to move it out of the way. So I just moved it from one side of the room to the other side to do the ceiling and now it's all pushed to the middle. William pulled back the plastic over the couch last night and watched the big screen t.v. (inside the tall cabinet) from just a few feet away. That can't be good for your eyes.

Of course I'm not finished yet. Now it's time to do several layers of "wash" over the gold.

I started out using the rest of the quart of paint I'd made by combining two different colors together to make the color I wanted as the base. I tried to finish one whole wall with it (what you see in the photo above) as I knew that I might not get an exact match when I asked them to make up some more. It turns out I was right, the first color had more orange in it than the second batch, which was more of a pure gold. So I had to repaint the one wall all over so it wouldn't look wierd. But, since I'm going to add washes over it anyway, I let some of the first color show through the second coat. It was subtle but nice and I figured it was like getting a head start on the shading.

The irony that I was painting my old smudgy walls in order to create a clean surface so that I can then create the look of "old smudgy walls" was not lost on me. I've been so excited to get to this point and now, staring at all the freshly painted walls, it's intimidating to think of "messing it all up".

So far today I've been busy with dog issues and now I have a few other tasks to check off my list before I can get back to the painting. Hopefully I'll rally later this afternoon and, deep breath, start "messing it up".

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


I took this photo in my rhubarb patch the other day. It's pretty much the same colors I'm playing with inside my house. Maybe I'll have to blow this up, frame it, and put it up when I'm done with my paint layers.

I'm still plugging away at turtle speed on my interior house painting. With our temperatures in the 100's, muggy and smoky, I'm moving slower than usual. I haven't had any new photos to show you because I haven't actually done much painting yet. And I don't really want to show you photos of the mess until I can also show you photos of the end result. However, I'm thrilled to announce that I'm on the CUSP of painting in the living room. Not the fun part yet, alas, but the ceiling. But hey, it's progress.

The walls colors will all be COLOR but the ceiling flows between different wall colors so it had to be something that would work with everything. I chose a color that's just a shade more color than the "Country White" that we originally painted all the walls and trim when we moved in here twelve years ago. Country White is basically a creamy white. The new color is called Arnica (have no idea why - is the Arnica flower white?) and if you picture French Vanilla Ice Cream, you've got it. Not only will the trim and ceiling be "French Vanilla Ice Cream", but eventually so will the kitchen cabinets, which are currently an aging, yellowing stain. I've debated leaving them stained or painting them for YEARS, not ready to make the leap, but now it suddenly seems the unquestioning right thing to do. But I won't tackle them until I've finished this first project with the walls.

That's it for me but if you'd like to see some creative fabric projects, check out my daughter-in-law Lisa's blog and also her sister Elena's new blog. They're both working on their costumes for the fairy festival we're attending in about a week. I have hopes of making a costume too but I'm beginning to think it's going to be hard to even finish my wall projects before I leave, much less touch a sewing machine.

I'll leave you with a photo I took yesterday.

Storm brewing

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

I'm a big fan of Shabby Chic decor but...... does it really work here?

Sunday, July 01, 2007

When I was in San Diego earlier this month, us girls walked around Coronado. We do this almost every time we visit, enjoying the beautiful and exotic gardens and expensive homes, pretending to buy this house or that one. Here are some of the more artsy photos I took on this visit.

They almost look like a V of birds, trying to fly away.

Orchid? What is this gorgeous flower? And the neighboring foliage is pretty as well.

Fronds or are they feathers atop a tropical hat?

Bouginevillea? Beaucoup blossoms!

You can't really see it unless you click to open the photo, but there's a little cafe table and chairs up on that middle archway. Wouldn't that be a great place to sit in the evening with your glass of wine and a good book or friend?